PSL in talks with health officials. . .as football authorities brace for lengthy lay-off 

THE Premier Soccer League (PSL) is in consultations with the ministry of Health over plans on how to commence the 2020 season during this coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.
This comes after the ministry of Sports and the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) last week proposed a programme that will allow for the resumption of sport gradually depending on the risk of infection associated with the activity.
While other sporting codes like cricket, triathlon, badminton, baseball, lawn bowls, soft ball, weightlifting, gymnastics, goal ball and rabble tennis will be allowed to resume their activities, football on the other hand was classified as high risk.
Football together with close contact sport like volleyball, field hockey, basketball, wrestling, water polo, taekwondo, judo and handball were deemed to have a high risk of infection due to their contact nature.
As of yesterday, Zimbabwe had recorded four deaths from the confirmed 42 cases of Covid-19.
PSL spokesperson Kudzai Bare admitted that there was still a long way to go before the beautiful game returns but they are working with the health authorities to find a timely but safe solution.
“Our sports medicine committee will liaise with the health experts from the ministry of Health and Child Care on the way forward,” Bare told the Daily News on Sunday.
“This is an uncertain period and everyone should play their part to avoid the spread of the virus. Our main concern now, as has been the health and safety of every Zimbabwean.”
Bare said they will not rush to commence the 2020 season and the league will follow the recommendations of the health authorities.
“We have always maintained that we remain guided by the government in light of the coronavirus pandemic,” she said.
“Yes football is a contact sport and it attracts a big following so it is a high risk sport.”
Those sporting disciplines which will be allowed to return will need to adhere to strict health guidelines.
“Protocols and procedures will be followed with directions and guidelines form the Government and medical experts. Obviously football won’t start promptly,” Bare said.
Last week, a number of Premiership coaches told our sister paper the Daily News that they are concerned with the fitness of their players during this lockdown period.
Dynamos coach Tonderai Ndiraya believes that the time the players have stayed under lockdown is too much to maintain the same fitness levels they had gained before the outbreak of the pandemic.
“It’s been very difficult for us as coaches and for the teams I must say,” Ndiraya said.
“We are trying, we are giving our players some programmes to do; we can only hope that they will be very professional and stick to those programmes or even do much more.
“But you also understand that we also have some difficult players within a group and it’s those who we really would want a push.”
The DeMbare gaffer insists that once teams are allowed to resume training, they would need another pre-season before games can take place.
“This is going to be more than six weeks without any proper training if I want to put it that way and you would really need much more time to recover from this situation and it has not really been easy for us,” he said.
“We just have to adhere to what the government is calling on us to do and in so doing we are losing much more time but I guess you need to be healthier for you to engage in all these activities so there’s really nothing we can do but we would really need much more time to prepare.”
CAPS United coach Darlington Dodo also shared the challenges they are facing to keep their players fit during such a pandemic.
“Preparations had gone very well since day one in pre-season and when the lockdown was sanctioned by the government, we were nearing the beginning of the season and obviously we were almost there in terms of our pre-season training,” Dodo said.
“We have rolled out individual training programmes for the players to undertake during the lockdown period, but it’s not a guarantee that the players will manage to maintain the same levels of fitness as training as a group brings in competition and training intensity will be high.
“So it’s going to be tough when we regroup but by the grace of God, I urge all Zimbabweans to remain safe and always adhere to the prescribed way of living in these difficult times that is sanitising, washing hands regularly and social distancing.”
The PSL has confirmed it is in consultations with officials from the Health ministry over the way forward to resume football in the current lockdown.

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